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J Nutr. 1997 May;127(5 Suppl):985S-988S. doi: 10.1093/jn/127.5.985S.

Do milk-borne cytokines and hormones influence neonatal immune cell function?

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Department of Nutrition, Pennsylvania State University, University Park 16802, USA.


Cytokines, growth factors and various hormones collectively control the proliferation, survival, differentiation and function of immune cells. A wide array of these compounds is present in maternal milk and ingested by neonates during a period of rapid maturation of gut-associated and peripheral lymphoid tissues. The functional consequences of most milk immunomodulatory constituents in neonates are unknown. However, there is evidence that milk prolactin acts as a developmental regulator of the neonatal immune system, supporting the premise that milk constituents with immunomodulatory activity may serve as neonatal immunodevelopment agents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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